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Blackstone, Hudson Pacific Join Vornado In $350M Manhattan Studio Project

A rendering of Sunset Pier 94 Studios, planned to be the first purpose-built studio campus in Manhattan.

Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties are joining with Vornado to build a new film studio on Manhattan’s West Side, with the group vowing to start development on the project before the year is out.

Dubbed Sunset Pier 94 Studios, the project would be developed as a public-private partnership with New York City Economic Development Corp., the companies said in a release Tuesday morning. The total investment from the three publicly traded firms will be about $350M.

“Our partnership with Blackstone, Hudson Pacific, and the City of New York will solidify New York as a leading market for content production and studio space, create jobs, drive economic momentum, and deliver a host of amenities to the surrounding community,” Vornado President Michael Franco said in a statement. “Together we’ll raise the bar for one of New York City’s signature industries and breathe new life into a key waterfront site.”

The campus would span 266K SF with six soundstages. The development would feature a 1,850 SF amenity space, 25K SF of waterfront open space and pier access, and safety improvements to the bikeway, according to the release.

"This project will bring critical, long-awaited investment to this public asset, turn an underutilized space into an economic driver, and improve public space and quality of life for New Yorkers," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

Vornado has the long-term leasehold on Pier 94 and is providing the lease to the joint venture, in which it will have 49.9% ownership, while Hudson Pacific will have 25.6% and Blackstone’s institutional core-plus real estate fund will own 24.5%. Vornado will handle development, and Hudson Pacific will provide design oversight and manage leasing and operations.

The partnership has secured a $185M construction loan led by RBC, according to the release. The project is expected to be done by the end of 2025 and is expected to generate some 1,300 construction jobs, 400 permanent jobs and contribute $6.4B to the local economy over the next 30 years.

Demand for content has driven real estate investment in recent years. Blackstone bought a 49% stake in Hudson Pacific's 2.2M SF Hollywood studio campus in 2020, valuing the property at north of $1.6B.

A joint venture of Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital bought Kaufman Astoria Studios in 2021, a year after buying Silvercup Studios, which has properties in Queens and the Bronx, for $500M. In 2019, Robert De Niro and his son Raphael joined with development firm Wildflower to build a studio in Astoria.

The city is offering reduced rent and incentives for the Pier 94 project, which has raised concerns among some officials and community leaders, The New York Times reported.